Why is SA silent on Zim cruelty?



As Edmund Burke said, "the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing". The SA government's silence while reports of human rights allegedly being trampled upon in neighbouring Zimbabwe is deplorable. Really, are we still in the era of "silent diplomacy"? Why is Pretoria quiet when violence and imprisonment are used to silence anyone who dares speak up against wrongdoing in that country?Several human rights activists and journalists were arrested for protesting against corruption and the Zanu-PF-led government. Author Tsitsi Dangarembga and opposition MDC spokesperson Fadzayi Mahere were arrested during last week's anti-government protests. They were released on bail on Saturday and are due back to face charges of inciting public violence next month. Journalist Hopewell Chin'ono was still behind bars yesterday after being arrested at his home last week for inciting public violence after being accused of rallying Zimbabweans to join a march during the coronavirus outbreak. He is said to have been probing corruption linked to the procurement of personal protective gear and Covid-19 test kits at the time of his arrest.President Emmerson Mnangagwa has called the demonstrations "insurrection" meant to forcibly remove his administration from power, while his opponents said his government was following in his predecessor Robert Mugabe's footsteps by using violence, kidnapping and incarcerating of his critics.SA has been quiet before during Thabo Mbeki's reign when Mugabe used violence to silence his detractors as he ran his country into the ground. SA's silence can be viewed as support for violation of human rights; President Cyril Ramaphosa has not even condemned the violence under his hat as AU chairperson. This is not the fight of people of Zimbabwe alone, it would take Mnangagwa's peers' condemnation and isolation for him to feel pressure and to realise that what he is doing is wrong and change his ways. Zimbabweans have a right to march peacefully and deliver their grievances, and that does not warrant the brutality that is being meted out to them by police officers. They need our support.

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